Graham McAully, owner and managing director of McAully Smash Repairs Group, attributes the ongoing success in his automotive repair business to being ahead of the competition with technology, efficient work practices and exceeding customer expectations, enabling a high level of referrals and return work.
“We were the first in Queensland to install a Low Bake Oven back in 1980 to give a factory finish to the paint job,” Graham said. “It was pretty expensive back then, about $45,000, and people thought I was mad to have a drying oven in the Sunshine State, now just about every repairer has one. We were also the first to use the Glasurit paint system from Germany, so we have kept pace with technology, enabling us to do the best job we can.
“Good old fashioned service goes a long way as well: being honest with people about each job, good and bad, satisfying each customer’s expectations, and meeting timelines for job completion.”
McAully’s must be doing something right. The business has expanded year-on-year, and they are a preferred repairer for insurance companies.
“We also concentrate on training our staff on latest techniques, and one of our apprentices is in the top three in the state, which is an important indicator of where we want to be,” Graham said.
The increased focus on vocational training producing more trades people is welcomed.
“We need to train and retain more apprentices in trades because the industry needs it so badly,” Graham said.
Businesses such as McAully’s are regarded as the mainstay of small business in Ipswich, and are strongly supported by the Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard who said, “I think it’s important, especially during this period of transition for Ipswich, that we recognise the generations of investment in the city and celebrate businesses such as McAully’s that have succeeded as a quality business and have earned great respect locally.”
John (Macca) McAully founded the business in 1959 as J.A. McAully and Co having served his apprenticeship in Boonah. He worked at Don Faulkner Motors as an automotive painter in the 1950s then decided it was time to go it alone.
“He started with two tradesmen and one apprentice and concentrated on painting, with Don Smith as his first tradesman and Wayne McQueen as his first apprentice,” Graham said.
“My mother Marie was the first employee, who did a lot of the masking , ‘fiddly’ jobs and looking after the office as well.”
Graham joined his father in the firm in 1970. In his words, “Growing up, I liked painting pushbikes and all sorts of things, so I left school as soon as I could to join the business, leaving school one Friday and started here on Monday.
“As the years went by we bought the joinery next door and expanded into panel beating, and the business became panel and paint.”
From apprentice to a management role over the next decade, Graham formed the McAully Group and became Managing Director. Strong leadership and commitment to excellence has enabled the McAully Group to become an industry leader and a trusted name in the Ipswich region.
“We are firmly committed to sustainable growth through customer service, investment in our people, innovation and quality workmanship,” Graham said.
Installing the Low Bake Oven nearly 30 years ago is seen as pivotal to the history and future of McAully’s.
“Once the spray and baking booths were installed the improvement was instant,” Graham said. “This enabled a faster turnaround and a higher standard of completed work, which gave the customer a factory like finish.”
McAully Group Today
The business today is an evolution of sound business practices and continued excellence established over past decades, encapsulated in McAully’s mission statement:
“We ensure we evolve with technology and continue to provide the finest customer service.”
McAully’s has grown in terms of facilities and work now carried out at the Raceview location.
“Our business now faces three streets and is more than 3500 square metres in area, and we have the capacity to turn out 50 cars a week, depending on the extent of repairs.”
The expansion into a Window Tint division for motor vehicles, homes and offices complements the core smash repairs side of the business, as well as a fast track (small repairs) division.
With success there’s no complacency, and Graham impresses on staff that continued business success depends on customer satisfaction. “We don’t take anything for granted,” he said.
“We continue to work hard, evolve the business and focus on exceeding customer expectations.”
As another measure of the high esteem held within the industry, insurance companies and manufacturer appraisers often acknowledge the high quality of the work and service at McAully’s.
The business ethic also includes being environmentally conscious, using the latest fully automatic GYSpot welding system, LEAN work practices and Glasurit 90 Line waterborne paints.
Graham has a strong commitment to his staff, recognising they are critical to the success of his business. He has 27 staff, which includes trades people, administration, management and other support staff.
“The entire team takes pride in ‘getting it right first time’,” he said.
“We have a program of continuous improvement in the quality of our work and our work practices.”
All repairs and paintwork are carried out by qualified trades people who have undergone a stringent training program.
“People new to McAully’s, even qualified trades people, also undergo in-house training to ensure they are aware of the standards we require,” Graham said.
This attitude to ‘getting it right first time’ has certainly paid off in terms of increased business, with 70 per cent repeat business and 30 per cent referrals from others.
This approach, combined with Graham’s leadership has taken McAully’s from strength to strength over many years.
“We are grateful to the Ipswich community and honoured to have achieved this milestone of 60 years and we are committed to continuing the high standard we have set for ourselves in workmanship, trust and customer care.